You hear a lot about the value and wisdom of seeking out older mentors to walk beside you on your Christian journey. Here are some thoughts and ideas about who should seek a mentor and who should be a mentor to the younger generations.
Does wisdom come only with age?
Wisdom comes with age, absolutely. At least, biblically, we’re told that wisdom is with the aged. We’re often given these descriptions of wisdom coming with those who have passed through time. And yet, it doesn’t necessarily come. You can be an old fool and probably if you think of your life, you think of people you’ve known, you might know some people who are advanced in years, but not really advanced in wisdom. They might have been a little bit worldly wise in the sense they might have had a little bit of knowledge about how the world works, but that’s not the same as true wisdom. On the other hand, very young people can be very wise, if they’re turning consistently to scripture and really doing their best to understand what God says and to live according to his ways, calling upon God, calling upon His Spirit to indwell them, to teach them how to live according to scripture. So, I’d say there’s generally a relationship between age and wisdom, but there’s not necessarily a relationship between age and wisdom. Young people can be wise, elderly people can be foolish.
What is the role of seeking older mentors in gaining wisdom for a young person?
We can grow in wisdom without the help of mentors because we’ve got the Word of God and we’ve got the Spirit of God dwelling within, so that is sufficient. On the other hand, there’s a lot of wisdom that can be gained by older Christians. And so, we see this in the book of Titus, where younger women are supposed to go specifically to older women, or older women approach younger women to teach and train them. And younger men with older men. So, and we see this modeled very much in the life of Jesus with his disciples, we see it modeled in Paul when he was taking especially younger men around with him to teach and train them. So, young people, there’s nothing wrong with going to an older person and saying will you mentor me? Will you help me? Can I learn from you? Older people, there’s a great calling on us to deeply invest in the lives of people who are younger so we can impart wisdom to them. That means there’s a responsibility on us as those who are older to grow in wisdom, and then even to humbly acknowledge that we have gained wisdom and then be willing to impart that to others. The apostle Paul was willing to say often, be like me. You want to know how to live the Christian life, look at this guy, imitate me and you’ll do okay. I don’t think he was being arrogant in saying that. I think we can do the same to some degree. Humbly say, I’ve learned a few things along the way, let me teach you, come alongside me, I’ll show you how to live this life. And if you live like me, honestly, you’ll do okay. I think we can teach and train people that way. So, let’s see those relationships forming, either organically or even just sort of artificially going to someone and saying, come along, I’m going to make you my mentee, would you come and be my mentor? Let’s build some of those relationships for the glory of God.
For older people who have made foolish choices or don’t feel equipped to mentor someone, how and should they be a source of wisdom to mentor younger persons?
Well, there probably are some people who should not be in a mentoring type position, they’ve made foolish choices, they made a shipwreck of their lives. Or maybe they’ve even just come to Christ so late that they haven’t really been able to gain that true Godly wisdom yet. But in general, I would say if you’re older and you’ve been living with the Lord and for the Lord, you’ve been in His Word, you have something to give to someone who’s younger. So, I would be aware of false humility here, which kind of says, oh, I’ve got nothing to say, I’ve got nothing to teach. I’d say nonsense. If you’ve been around the Lord, you’ve been in His Word, you’ve been attending church, you’ve been absorbing the message of God’s Word, you must have something to share with others. So, don’t allow this false humility to keep you from being a blessing to others, don’t use that as an excuse. Instead, humbly acknowledge God has worked in me, I see changes in my life and I know that would be a benefit to someone. You don’t have to address every area in someone else’s life. If you can just help them with the simple devotions, the simple disciplines of the Christian life. Simply help them with their management of money, of time, something. You’ve got something to give to somebody else as an older person, something you can impart to a younger